irritable bowel syndrome in children - Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a problem that affects mainly the bowel. It is a disorder characterized most commonly by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. It can be found in children, often is first identified in adolescence and can resolve unexpectedly for periods of time throughout an individuals lifespan, reoccurring at any age. IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, but it does not permanently harm the intestines and does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. The disorder accounts for more than one out of every 10 doctor visits. For most people, signs and symptoms of irritable bowel disease are mild. It is fairly common and makes up 20-50% of visits to gastroenterologists. Lower abdominal pain, and bloating associated with alteration of bowel habits and abdominal discomfort relieved with defecation are the most frequent symptoms. It is also called the large intestine. Women are affected more often than men. It's not the same as inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis. Colitis, for instance, means inflammation of the large intestine (colon). IBS, however, does not cause inflammation and should not be confused with ulcerative colitis, which is a more serious disorder.

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Once a diagnosis has been made, you need to work alongside your teenager to help them find some treatments that work for them. This may be in the form of medications, dietary change, or supplements, and it may take a while to find something that works for each individual, but there certainly are treatments out there - don't let your child feel that they're going to suffer forever, or that just because IBS is still poorly understood there's no hope for the future. Most IBS sufferers find a treatment program that works for them, but it may take time and a trial and error approach.

Because of this problem, it is vital that we trust our children when they're say that they're having bowel problems. Of course, most kids will try to get out of school once in a while, but very few will pretend to have embarrassing symptoms like diarrhea or wind. In fact, it may have taken a great deal of courage for them to even admit to these symptoms in the first place. It's very important that when they do manage to talk about their problem, they receive a sympathetic ear.

One irritable bowel syndrome sufferer from Manchester, Claire Brunton, suffered from painful cramps and other symptoms of the bowel disorder so badly that she stopped wanting to eat, which left her on the verge of anorexia. She also started to suffer from terrifying panic attacks because she was worrying so much about getting ill.

Answer : YOU can try probiotics capsules that are lactose free, suitable for people suffering from milk intolerance. Other products that may help ease the symptoms include double strength fish oil containing marine fish oil derived from sardines and anchovies. Smaller fish such as these contain oils lower in environmental toxins than large predatory fish such as tuna and cod. Milk thistle and dandelion are good for constipation, besides being liver tonics.

His diet should be high in complex carbohydrates and fibre that includes beans, bran and whole grains. Avoid oranges as these are known to trigger diarrhoea. Sugar and refined carbohydrates (white rice, white bread, and noodles) must not be taken as they contribute to increased inflammatory action for IBS sufferers. Learn to relax as stress can worsen the condition. Try to exercise regularly.

If you are standing beside your child saying "IBS is real, painful, and depressing, but we're going to beat this together" then you should find that your teenager is far more hopeful about the future, and far more willing to talk to you about what can be a very embarrassing and painful disorder.

Causes of Irritable bowel syndrome The common causes and risk factor's of Irritable bowel syndrome include the following: No one knows exactly what causes irritable bowel syndrome.

An antispasmodic is commonly prescribed, which helps to control colon muscle spasms and reduce abdominal pain. Antidepressants may relieve some symptoms.

However, as a result of Wythenshawe hospital’s revolutionary hypnotherapy programme, she has learnt some great techniques to stop her panic attacks, control her symptoms and help to cope with the pain. While her illness had once held her back in life, the hypnotherapy treatments have helped her to cope with the stress of her final university exams, as well as giving her enough confidence to enter the world of work and begin a new job as a recruitment consultant.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional bowel disorder, which causes abdominal pain, and in some cases, fever, diarrhoea, bloating, constipation and nausea. It is a common ailment, which is thought to affect one in three people at some point in their lives.

Treatment of Irritable bowel syndrome Here is list of the methods for treating Irritable bowel syndrome: Fiber supplements or laxatives for constipation or medicines to decrease diarrhea, such as Lomotil or loperamide (Imodium).

Diet and lifestyle modifications can also help. Stick to a gluten-free diet. Avoid all foods made from wheat, rye, barley and oats except rice, millet and corn. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and fish. Set aside time after breakfast or dinner for undisturbed visits to the toilet.

Factor's that seem to produce sympatoms of IBS include diet, emotional stress and hormones. Ordinary events such as eating and distention from gas or other material in the colon can cause an overreaction in the person with IBS.

Question : MY 16-year-old son has been suffering from irritable bowel syndrome for the past four years. He has stomach cramps all the time, sometimes very painful. Due to this he has missed many days of school. He has seen many doctors and specialists and gone for the usual tests. Medication has not helped. He took a food intolerance test, which indicates he has intolerance for milk and potatoes.

About the author:
Sophie Lee has suffered from IBS since the age of 12. She runs
the website Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment where you can read
reviews of all the treatments available for IBS.

Many irritable bowel syndrome sufferers first develop symptoms of IBS during their teenage years. Symptoms like stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation and bloating are difficult even for an adult to deal with, and if you also have to cope with peer pressure, new relationships and exams it can make life very miserable indeed.

Anti-diarrheal medications: Over-the-counter medications such as loperamide (Imodium) can help control diarrhea. Drugs which are used for diarrhoea, such as codeine, can be helpful, but are used less because they can be addictive.

Mucus in the stool. Feeling sick with it. Swollen or bloated abdomen. Bloating and fullness of wind. Alternating between one and the other.

Some people with IBS find that increasing the amount of dietary fibre and reducing caffeine helps. The word syndrome means a group of symptoms. IBS is a syndrome because it can cause several symptoms. For example, IBS causes cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Most people can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, and prescribed medications. For some people, however, IBS can be disabling. They may be unable to work, attend social events, or even travel short distances. In many cases, you can control irritable bowel syndrome by managing your diet, lifestyle and stress. Colon motility (contraction of intestinal muscles and movement of its contents) is controlled by nerves and hormones and by electrical activity in the colon muscle. IBS should not be confused with colitis or other inflammatory diseases of the intestinal tract and IBS is not limited to the colon. In some individuals, IBS may have an acute onset and develop after an infectious illness characterised by two or more of the following: fever , vomiting , acute diarrhea , positive stool culture. This post-infective syndrome has consequently been termed "post-infectious IBS" and is acute onset Rome II criteria positive. This condition is more homogenous, being mostly IBS-D and is drawing much clinical investigation.

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Claire was quick to praise Wythenshawe Hospital’s hypnotherapy treatment for IBS, she said: “Hypnotherapy is a very strange thing to try to describe, your therapist helps you to relax slowly but you are awake and conscious throughout - it feels like the last few moments before you go to sleep when you still know what is happening around you.”

On top of this, teenagers often find that their parents, and even their doctors, do not take them seriously when they try to seek help. The number one complaint I hear from teenagers who have been diagnosed with IBS, often after many months or years of asking for help, is that "no-one believed I was sick". This is horrible for the teenager, as not only do they have the physical pain and discomfort to deal with, they also have to get past the fact that everyone around them thinks they are 'faking it'. Can you imagine anything worse?

Sometimes another illness, such as an acute episode of infectious diarrhea (gastroenteritis) can trigger IBS. People with IBS often report that family members also have the disorder, suggesting a possible genetic cause.

Having said that, stress and anxiety can be triggers for IBS, just as certain foods can be triggers for IBS, and so anything you can do to relieve stress may help relieve symptoms to a certain extent. Remember that your child may be worried about not reaching a bathroom in time and having an accident, or having to leave class during school time and being made fun of. They might also have problems with teachers who think that they are missing out on too much school.

It's also vital that teenagers receive a definite diagnosis of IBS from a doctor - bowel symptoms can mean IBS, but they can also mean Crohn's Disease, celiac disease, and a range of other disorders, so please get these ruled out before you assume that it's IBS.

When all else fails, a small dose of a medication usually used to treat depression can be effective. This seems to work in a much smaller dose than is used for depression, and may, in part, work by mimicking the nervous system to the bowel.

Another important point to remember is that because of the general lack of understanding of IBS, there are some long-standing myths which your child might be subjected to. The most damaging, and most common, of these myths is that IBS is "all in your head" - the implication being that if the sufferer would stop being so neurotic or anxious the IBS symptoms would magically go away. This is nonsense, and you should make sure that your child knows that their symptoms are NOT their fault, and are certainly not caused by emotional problems.

Pamela Cruickshanks, who is one of Wythenshawe Hospital’s three clinical hypnotherapists, explains how the treatment works. She said: “We provide patients with 12 sessions of 'gut-directed hypnotherapy', which teach patients to take control over their bowel. Due to the success of this treatment, patients are coming from all over the country to access our services, and hypnosis is now considered to be the treatment of choice for moderate to severe IBS.”

Juliet Cohen writes articles for and

Before embarking on this treatment, Claire had tried a number of other IBS therapies to no avail. She explained: “IBS was taking over my life. I had started to worry I would not be able to hold down a job and I didn't want to eat because I felt like everything I ate made me sick, so I'd tried all kinds of herbal remedies and acupuncture before the hypnotherapy.”

Symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome Some sign and symptoms related to Irritable bowel syndrome are as follows: Gas. Bloating.

The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unknown, particularly as IBS sufferers show no physical abnormalities in the bowel. Because of this, many specialists believe that stress is a major factor in causing this painful bowel disorder.

A sensation of having to rush to the toilet. Crampy pain in the stomach area ( abdomen ). Diarrhea or constipation- people with IBS may also experience alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.

At all stages of your teenager's illness, the best thing that you can do is be their advocate, whether it is with doctors who are not offering treatment options, teachers who are blaming your child for missing school, or family and friends who have decided that IBS is not a big deal.

As well as having hypnotherapy, Claire was also given a number of blood tests at the hospital that showed she was allergic to dairy and wheat products. She now avoids these foods and finds that her symptoms have eased a great deal.

Currently, a hypnotherapist at the Manchester hospital is treating more than 60 irritable bowel syndrome sufferers every week. Patients are coming from locations throughout the country to experience this cutting-edge course of 12 hypnotherapy treatments, which means the hospital now has an 18-month waiting list.

About the author:
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Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and homeopathy, are often used. Some people find complementary treatments such as acupuncture help, although there is little scientific proof of their effectiveness.

Researchers from Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester have found that hypnotherapy can be used to effectively treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in 70 per cent of cases.


Manchester Evening News

Samantha Srillian is a freelance writer, as well as a naturally gifted psychic medium and tarot card reader. She is interested in alternative therapies, angels and spiritual healing.

Nancy D. Pace


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